4 portions. Maximum cost: £15.29, 

Skill level: Medium, 

Total cooking time: 35 minutes, 

  • Prep time: 20 minutes, (ideally marinate the beef overnight), 
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes, 

Equipment used: 1 large mixing bowl, 1 large wok (1 large frying pan can be used as an alternative if needed) 

Original recipe: School of Wok Beef Hor Fun


I’ve had to adapt the original recipe slightly because 1) I’ve doubled the ingredients in order to cook for four people and 2) my wok isn’t big enough nor gets hot enough to cook this amount of food in one go. I’ve therefore opted to cook in batches and combine everything at the end. I’ve also added chestnut mushrooms to increase the veg content.

School of Wok Beef Hor FunI made this on a whim because I already had oyster sauce and Chinese 5 spice and I opted to make a homemade version of the black pepper sauce rather than buy a jar (it literally takes 10 minutes). All other ingredients are easily sourced, including the noodles, however if you do fancy using Hor Fun noodles, these will be stocked at any Chinese Supermarket (my favourite is in Queensway)

The beef, despite being a cheap cut, was really flavoursome (especially after being left to marinade overnight).  Although there is a little bit of prep here (if making the black pepper sauce), the method is easy to follow, it’s tasty and easy to make in bulk (if you resign to cooking in batches) so ideal for midweek dinner. 


To prep:

(Original recipe in bold font)

1: Make the black pepper sauce if not using a jarred variety – I followed the instructions from this great blog post from Saucy Spatula

(As a rough conversion, 1 US cup is equivalent to 16 UK tablespoons, so use 4 when the recipe states 1/4 cup of soy sauce)

  • Cook 1 tbsp of minced garlic with some oil in a hot pan until fragrant, then add 1 chopped onion and cook until it becomes transparent in color.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (1 tbsp rice wine,  3 tbsp ketchup, 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 60ml of soy sauce, 60ml of water, 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp sugar) and stir until everything is mixed in.
  • Let it cook for 5 minutes until sauce has thickened. Allow to cool slightly before using. 


2: Prepare the cooking sauce by combining 2 tbsp of black pepper sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp dark soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. 


3: Make the beef marinade by mixing together the following ingredients; 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 pinches of 5 spice, 2 pinches of sugar and 1 tbsp corn flour (ideally sieve this into the bowl to prevent lumps from forming)


4: Finely slice 400g beef and add to the beef marinade, mix well with one hand

Ideally do this ahead of time, if you can a few hours before, overnight would be ideal.


5: Soak the dry noodles for 8-10 minutes (or until fully lost packet shape and each noodle strand is separate and softened) and then cool under cold water

Despite soaking for 15 minutes, the noodles were still a little chewy at the end (it’s likely that my wok wasn’t hot enough) so I’d recommend pre-cooking for only a couple of minutes if they remain a little rigid after soaking. 


6: Finely slice 2 onions and 2 green peppers and place on the same dish. Chop mushrooms and add to dish if using.

Until last week, I hadn’t given much thought on how I chop peppers – I think I usually sliced the tops off, then run the knife around the inside to separate the pith and seeds from the veg. However, whilst watching “Dinner Date” of all things, I watched in amazement as someone sliced the sides, thereby leaving the pith and seeds in tact – so simple and so effective (what have I been doing with my life?!)


7: Finely slice 4 spring onions and place on a separate dish


To cook:

Place 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the wok on a medium heat and add the onions. Once slightly softened, push to one side of the wok and then add the sliced peppers (and mushrooms if using).

Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok and increase the heat to a high heat. Once smoking hot, add the beef and stir fry together for 1 minute. 

(Because I’m cooking for 4 and my pan is significantly smaller, I removed the veg temporarily before cooking the beef. Alternatively, you could use 2 woks / frying pans.

Add the bean sprouts and stir fry for 30 seconds

Push all the ingredients aside and now add the noodles

(As before, I temporarily removed the beef and bean sprouts moving these to one side with the veg)

In my poor excuse of a wok, the noodles immediately stuck to the bottom. I was reluctant to add more oil but ploughed on as advised and added the sauce. At the end, I did lose a small number that had entirely cooked to the pan, although I actually really liked these unexpected crunchy additions.

Cover the noodles with the prepared sauce and shake the wok back and forth, until all the noodles are a consistent dark brown colour

Add the veg and beef back to the wok and mix thoroughly

Add the spring onions and a drop of sesame oil (I opted to add to spring onions to the plated dish as garnish)



All prices from Sainsbury’s, unless otherwise stated

  • fresh / dried Hor Fun noodles (£2 from Food Basics Chinese supermarket in Queensway)
  • 2 small onions (34p)
  • 2 green peppers (£1.10)
  • 400g rump steak (£7 from Scotch Meats in West Norwood)
  • 2 handfuls of beansprouts (50p for a bag from the Chinese supermarket)
  • 4 spring onions (55p for a bunch)
  • 2 tbsp black pepper sauce*
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (£1.80 from the Chinese supermarket)
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • a dash sesame oil
  • chestnut mushrooms (£1)


For the Beef Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 pinches of 5 spice (£1 for a jar)
  • 2 pinches of sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn flour


For the Black Pepper Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ¾ cup finely chopped yellow onion (approx 100g or a medium to big onion)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (shaoxing 紹興)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • ½ tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (approx 60ml or 3.5 tbsp)
  • ¼ cup water (approx 60ml or 3.5 tbsp)
  • ½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar


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